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ALPINE DISTRICT INCREASES ITS BUDGET - BUT NOT TAXES

Alpine School District's $113 million budget for 1990-91 may be 8.3 percent higher than last year's budget, but that boost will come without a tax increase, district officials announced Tuesday.

"These increases are mainly due to growth and are being accomplished without a tax increase," said Superintendent Steven Baugh. "We need to stress here that there is no tax increase that will be going into effect with this budget."More state money

Instead of the increase, district officials will make up the difference by collecting more state dollars for student growth. Alpine has also juggled its board-approved two-mill leeway to get an additional $1 million from the state for class-size reduction without raising property tax.

Baugh said the district is in sound financial condition and applauded district taxpayers for their support. "They are paying above the state average in taxes to this district, but the assessed valuation we receive from them is one of the lowest in the state."

Largest block to salaries

A large share of the $113 million budget - 87 percent - will go to pay teacher salaries and benefits. The remaining 13 percent pays for supplies and materials.

More than $91 million will go to teacher salaries, school supplies, maintenance and other operational needs. Most of the remaining budget will be spent on capital outlay (construction and renovation) and school lunch, said Jim Hansen, director of budget for the school district.

"We are heavily dependent on state revenue. That is mainly where our money comes from," he said.

More and more students

The district population, home to 38,961 students, is growing by 1.8 percent a year or one elementary school a year, Baugh said.

"With our debt service we could actually raise taxes to cover our bond indebtedness," said Jack McKelvy district business administrator. "But we have used other income to supplement that. The district does make a concerted effort to be responsive to the resources that come to this district."

Alpine has the lowest assessed value per student of any district in the state and spends the least on any student in the state, he said.

At the same time the district has managed to have one of the best academic environments in the state and proves that the system operates effectively, McKelvy said.

The state average assessed valuation per student is $109,770, with the highest valuation in the state at $818,648 in the South Summit School District. Alpine, on the other hand, is at the bottom of the list with assessed valuation at $54,928.

Taxpayer Association plaudit

Howard Stephenson, representing the Utah Taxpayers Association, praised the district budget. "This shows that a good education can come from not necessarily high spending."

Board Member David Harvey said, "We are running a very tight ship. I think this is probably the best it's been in years."

Board members approved the 1990-91 budget as well as the revised $104.5 million budget for 1989-90 at Tuesday's meeting.